Chapter 1: Breathe
Her breath catches and....
* * *
Your breath catches and you straighten. It's like…something tugs at you, a quick, silent warning. The hair on the back of your neck stands up the way it does, sometimes, before a storm.
Outside, the sun is being eaten away by a shadow and soon, it will be swallowed whole. You won't allow yourself to think of portents or omens – you're the daughter of doctors and a mechanic. You don't believe in that sort of thing even when you know for a fact there are monsters…but you've seen the monsters become men, too.
There is no difference, you think, between fairy tale and truth, picking up your socket wrench, but for now, you have work to –
Oh, it hurts it hurts dammit, can't get my breath, what is happening? What is -
Your heart squeezes inside your chest and your lungs labor to draw in air. Somewhere, your grandmother shouts and your dog barks and there are other voices but…
…you can't catch your breath and…
…you're falling to the floor…
Dammit it hurts it hurts!…
…you'd wait, one last time…
…and your breath catches…
…You promised - !
…no more sad tears.
* * *
Chapter 2: Octopus's Garden
* * *
You were fucking played and you realize it as that thing catches you and spins you around, slamming you to the floor. You can't move – can't do anything as it activates a transmutation circle. Your heart feels like it burst inside your chest – worse than when you nearly died on that piece of rebar. Inside, you're hollowed out and somehow not – something's peeling you open like you'd gutted those rabbits only you're
and dammit, it hurts so much you can't even scream
and you can just make out your brother, your master, your boss, your father and
your body splits
and the world thunders and roars and is somehow so
and you realize, bile in your throat, eyes too dry for tears –
they're all (she's) gone.
* * *